Athletic Bilbao striker Aduriz to retire at end of season

Aritz Aduriz will bring his 20-year career to an end when the 2019-20 season finishes, the Athletic Bilbao striker confirmed on Friday.

The 38-year-old forward has enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career, becoming a Spain international and Athletic favourite across three spells for the club.   -  Twitter: @AthleticClub

Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced he will retire at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The 38-year-old forward has enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career, becoming a Spain international and Athletic favourite across three spells for the club.

Aduriz has enjoyed a particularly impressive rise since returning to Athletic Bilbao in 2012, but he will be 39 by the time the new season concludes and feels it will be time to focus on other facets of life.

"I wanted to communicate that this year is going to be my last year as a professional.

"I will leave football when I finish this season. It makes me especially excited to be able to leave it at Athletic," he said.

"The aim of saying it now is to avoid distractions so I can focus everything on the team. Hopefully we can end the year with something very nice and we can offer all our fans something beautiful.

"I feel very happy to be able to leave football at Athletic. I will compete and enjoy every day until the end. We believe the end never comes, but choosing the end and where I will be at the end is an immense privilege.

"It is a thoughtful decision, which I could've taken last year, but circumstances have made it this year. It is a decision made with my family. I am very proud that I end at Athletic."